Creative Live: James Victore


On Monday and Tuesday of this week I participated in a workshop run by Creative Live in San Francisco. A friend had sent me on the details weeks ago and suggested I apply to be a part of the studio audience for James Victore’s Bold and Fearless Poster Design course. I had heard of neither Victore nor Creative Live but I looked into it, thought it looked cool, and filled in an online form. Cut to a couple of months later and I am blearily making my way to a BART at 7am in the name of inspiration. 

And inspiration it was. Victore is bold and brash in his manner, his work ethic and his teaching. It was bolstering and refreshing, funny and thought provoking. I’m glad I went. We did some ink and brush work during the workshop and it was so freeing, Victore encouraged us all to embrace the uncontrollability of the medium and I think I’m hooked. 

Here are five things I learned during this workshop:

  1. Freedom is something you take. Victore made the point that we all intrinsically want to be free…we’re just waiting for someone to grant us permission. Stop waiting and take back your own freedom. At home, at work and in relationships. 
  2. Have an opinion. The worst possible question you can ask yourself is ‘what do they want’? In that kind of client/designer relationship then all the designer is is a workhorse, a dogsbody. Use your clients trust as inspiration and create what you believe to be true.
  3. All of your work should be love notes. I love this idea. Put yourself in your work, no one else can. Use your heart. If you do this your work will become a gift. 
  4. Whatever you are thinking is wrong. Kill your inner critic. Fear, self doubt and insecurity will destroy you. 
  5. Stop designing for other designers. This idea is so simple but it kind of blew my mind. I love my designer friends and I love our conversations about our work and what we want to do and who we want to be. But if I am creating work to impress them or if I am working for a company concerned with awards and prestige and impressing the powers that be then I am ignoring the majority of the population. Create work that entertains, educated and enlightens. 

There was so many good quotes being thrown about over the two days but I think I’ll end on this one “You have no friends, you have no enemies. You have only teachers.” A comforting thing to remember I think. 

Have you been inspired lately? Do you ever take top up classes in your field? Or how about learning new things? 

Here is the link to the Bold & Curious Poster Design class on Creative Live, and here is James Victore’s website

(Top image by Rich, lettering by me. Bottom poster image by James Victore)